After covering Rincon and San Juan last week we headed uplake to electrofish and take the pulse of those fisheries. On Monday we left Wahweap with the first stop at the inflow of the Escalante River. Lots of shad there but we found fishing slow for bass and stripers. Next stop Good Hope Bay. That's a lot of lake to cover in a day. The survey showed good numbers of smallmouth bass with lots of green sunfish for forage.
Despite working most of the night, morning's first light found me searching for stripers. On the run to the back of Ticaboo I noticed a great blue heron patiently waiting for fish. There was no surface action in the back so I retraced my path. Near the mouth I saw the heron fly across to the near shore. Then a flock of mergansers began half flying, half scooting along the surface heading for the same rock the heron had perched on. That was enough for me. I idled the boat in and cast to the heron's rock. A striper immediately took the Jumpin' Minnow. Two more casts and two more fish. As soon as the surface lure quit working I dropped the spoon to the bottom and picked up 6 more stripers all fat, healthy 2-3 pounders. When the morning sun hit the water I quit fishing. Always get out early for the quick morning striper boil.
Stripers can be found mid day as well. While motoring around "The Horn" between 4-Mile and Good Hope I noticed a dozen ravens congregated near a flat slickrock point. Moving in closer I found the point dropped off into a cliff face. The first cast directly to the point was ignored. The second cast to the left side produced a giant swirl and then a striper that snagged the lure on the third pass. The boat drifted onto the shallow point, grounded and held, allowing me to cast to deep water right off the stern without moving the boat. Each cast would get hit by a striper as the surface lure crossed deep water then neared the ledge. The hooked fish would be accompanied by the entire striper school as they tried to take the lure from his mouth. Each cast was the same- twenty times in a row. The stripers would hit right at the cliff edge then all would follow the hooked fish to the boat. What a sight! When their buddy disappeared into the boat they dropped back over the edge into deep water waiting for another shad to swim by. My lure seemed to be the only "shad" in the vicinity. Watch for Birds in striper country. They eat shad fleeing from stripers and will hang around after the boil is done hoping for one more fish.
At Bullfrog the next morning was windy, with rain. Not the right conditions to find a striper boil. But we went anyway as this was our only morning at this location. We tried the tire breakwater at fist light. No luck. Then Crappie Cove. No fish. Then we cruised to the Haystacks near Stanton Creek and saw 3 splashes in calm water near shore in the big cove to the left of the rock structure. Each time we cast surface lures into the cove stripers would hit. The wind carried us back out and we had to reposition the boat to return to casting range. Stripers hit for an hour between 6-7 AM. As soon as the stripers quit smallmouth moved in to get any leftover shad. We caught smallmouth to 2 pounds after the boil.
Stripers are boiling early each day in the mid to upper lake. Bass fishing is steady everywhere. Bigger bass are feeding with stripers on top. The lower lake is not as good but slowly improving.